Don't Be Afraid

Detroit veteran DJ Bone typically issues music on his own Subject:Detroit imprint, which makes his appearance on the Bristol-based label Don't Be Afraid something of a surprise. That change in scenery isn't the only thing that's new: his latest material also appears under a newly hatched alter ego called DIFFER-Ent.

Certainly the A-side's “Differ-ent(hrall)” proves to be a, yes, enthralling enough listen. Minimal and sleek in design, the seven-minute tune gracefully glides with all the aerodynamic thrust of a space shuttle, powered as it is by a determinedly galloping beat, high-speed synthesizer pulsations, and a trippy two-note motif that intones at different pitches throughout. As the tune cycles repeatedly through its various patterns, it's hard not to feel the lure of its hypnotic force.

By comparison, the flip's “Differ-ent(ity)” is raw and earthy, its feet planted firmly on the ground. With a pounding kick drum pulse leading the charge, the material pumps like a furiously beating heart, its intensity bolstered by the gradual layering of myriad patterns and effects. Soft and hard sounds intermingle, among them muffled chords and an usual percussive effect that sounds like the repeated swish of garden shears.

Exactly why Bone felt the need to release the material under a new alias rather than his usual one isn't entirely clear, given that the two tracks could have just as easily have been issued under his own name. Maybe he felt as if doing so would wipe the slate clean and encourage an outpouring of new ideas and sounds. No matter: new material from Bone is always welcome, whether it appears under his own name or an, ahem, different one.

December 2014